Thursday, 18 July 2019

Free Wallpaper Samples x 50

50 Free Wallpaper Samples

Redecorating is no easy task especially if, like me, you struggle to make a decision! To help you find the perfect look for your home here are 40 retailers offering completely free samples to UK customers.

★ Barncroft Wallpaper. (3)

★ Chapel Interiors. (5)

★ Charlotte Gaisford. (3)

★ Coker Expo. (1)

★ Cover Your Wall. (3)

★ D&R Furnishers. (2)

★ Decor Clever. (5)

★ Decorating Centre Online. (2)

★ Designer Wallpapers. (6)

★ Direct Wallpaper. (2)

★ Farrow & Ball. (5)

★ Galerie Home. (1)

★ Glitter Wall Store. (2)

★ Graham Sanderson Interiors. (3)

★ Great Little Trading Company. (5)

★ House Decor Interiors. (4)

★ I Love Wallpaper. (3 - with discount code S123)

★ Ian Mankin. (6)

★ Inspired Wallpaper. (2)

★ John Lewis. (5)

Laura Ashley. (8)

★ Linwood Fabric. (6)

★ Little Greene. (6)

★ Love Frankie. (4)

★ Mr. Perswall. (3)

★ Murals Wallpaper. (3)

★ Muraspec Wallcoverings. (5)

★ Next. (8)

★ Nina Campbell. (2)

★ Norfolk Textiles. (2)

★ Paint & Paper. (1)

★ Paint and Paper Library. (6)

★ Peter Lees Fabrics. (3)

★ St Jude's Fabrics. (3)

★ Rapture & Wright. (4)

★ Rebel Walls. (2)

★ Redcliffe Imaging. (1)

★ Reed Harris. (6)

★ Shades Interiors. (10)

★ Studio Ditte. (1)

★ Surface House. (1)

 Victoria Plum. (4)

★ Victory Colours. (5)

★ Wallpaper Direct. (2)

★ Wallpaper-Fabric. (4)

★ Wallpaper Ideas. (2)

★ Wallpaper Market. (2)

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Hello Molly!

Molly the Jack Chi

It's been six weeks already since Bracken had to be put to sleep - and just over four years since I was writing her a welcome post of her own - but even though nothing can replace her, the gaping dog shaped hole in all our lives had to be filled somehow.

So here's hello to Molly, an eleven week old Chihuahua and Jack Russell cross. She's so cute! And lively. Molly is definitely no shrinking violet; she came in and laid claim to the place. I foresee these two becoming close partners in crime...

Molly the Dog
Marianna and Molly

After tiring herself out she got into her basket, curled up, and went straight to sleep. ...No doubt to plot out a whole new day of mischief!

Sleeping Jack Chi Puppy

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Monday, 15 July 2019

Jakks Pacific Zombie Girls

Zombie Girls  by Jakks Pacific
Jakks Pacific launched the short lived - heh - Zombie Girls line in 2013. They were an attempt to compete with the popular Monster High dolls, with similar body proportions and articulation at knees, elbows, and wrists. They stood 11.5 inches tall and had rooted hair.

The whole premise was pretty morbid, right down to the tombstone doll stands complete with the death dates of each girl. Perfect for the horror fan but probably not quite as suitable for the intended audience. The dolls didn't sell well and can still be bought new via Amazon and other outlets.

Zombie Girls Mary Mourning

Mary Mourning

Best and Last Sleepover - box front / box back.
1947 - 1963

Zombie Girls Mya Spirit

Mya Spirit

Cheered Too Hard - box frontbox back.
1955 - 1971

Zombie Girls Rhoda Kille

Rhoda Kille

Danced Till She Dropped - box frontbox back.
1969 - 1985

Jakks Pacific Zombie Girls Sunny Burns

Sunny Burns

Eyecandy to Everyone and Everything - box front / box back.
1977 - 1993

There were also a set of budget dolls available, lacking both accessories and articulation.

Jakks Pacific Zombie Girls Dolls

★ Mary Mourning - box front / back.
★ Mya Spirit - box front / back.
★ Rhoda Kille - box front / back.
★ Sunny Burns - box front / back.

For more like this, please click the image below:

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Writing Wrongs

If you want to change the world - pick up your pen and write.

A few weeks back I was asked if I could help out with getting a speaker for the lower school writing festival at Croesyceiliog Secondary, because I'm on the governing body. I apologised as I don't really have any writer contacts - then got a message back saying, no, we're asking you to speak at it.

So, I agreed then instantly started losing sleep over it.

Because, okay, it was 10 minutes in front of a few hundred teenagers. But, gah, 10 minutes in front of a few hundred teenagers is kind of like my worst nightmare. I dunno, I just find it easier with adults. They're obliged to be polite and pretend to look interested. Teenagers... aren't.

Anyway, I spoke to year nine on Tuesday (terrifying) and year eight on Wednesday (less terrifying but I felt like I did more rambling which wasn't a plus!). It wasn't good, but it wasn't terrible, and mostly I'm glad I gave it a go.

I think I'll always find public speaking of any kind nerve wracking. I still get stressed before chairing full council, even. But at least I can say I tried and, really, that's what being successful is.

Doing the best you can.


Here's the speech I wrote for it and then deviated from...

Thanks so much for inviting me.

So, 18 years ago, give or take, I was sat where you are now. I wasn’t completely sold on English back then, to be honest. Too much Chaucer and Shakespeare.

But what I didn’t realize was how important writing already was to me.

I was very into penpalling back then. I wrote letters to people all over the world, and thought I might go into a career in translation. German was one of my favourite subjects and to practice I had a few penpals there. It made me think about how powerful a tool writing was. My German might not have been the most elegant, and their English was never that accurate, but we were able to make ourselves understood.

Because that’s what writing is for - conveying ideas, even if it’s only to ourselves when we read it back over later.

I saw that shine through in my other favourite subject, history. It’s true what they say - history is the story of the victors, or at least whoever is writing it. You have to dig into what is being said and what isn’t, to look at both sides of the issue. ‘Critical Thinking’ is how you might describe it, but what it comes down to is sorting out what to believe.

In my personal statement for university I said history was kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Every new thing you learn about helps you make sense of the world around you. Same is true throughout life. What makes people act the way they do, believe the things they do.

Writing has the power to change it. It makes us rethink. That can be something simple like a review of a film you weren’t sure you wanted to watch, or something much more complex like which way you vote or how you live your life.

At Cambridge I really learned about how to make a coherent, persuasive argument. It doesn’t matter whether your answer is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, as such, just that you can back it up with evidence.

I started to get into politics because you get to see it in action.

The 2010 election I stayed up all night writing coursework on ‘is the settlement of the Danelaw in England a useful model for interpreting Viking settlement elsewhere?’ I’m probably as clueless about it now as I was then. But I do remember being interested in what was happening, and writing up little histories and explainers of party politics for the student newspapers and on Livejournal.

When I finished uni and moved home I joined the Labour party and got a job with a youth work charity in Newport. I didn’t really intend on being active locally until my local councillor turned up at my door and said to come to branch meetings. And when I didn’t go he came back and tried again. In the end I figured I’d go just to avoid a repeat.

Anyway, fast forward a year or two and I was asked to stand for election by the branch. I wasn’t sure - I was working in Cardiff by now for a depression charity, and I had lots of volunteer work on. Plus I’d have to write a CV that all my neighbours were going to see.

But I did it, and won.

Suddenly the type of writing I was doing was different. A lot more formal letters and things.

Rather than not write in my down time I chose to write differently.

I set up a blog so I could write about anything and everything. Reviews and baby stuff, but also politics, and conspiracy theories, and collector guides, and mysteries. It helped me to connect with people. Eg. Wrote about a murder that happened on my parents’ street in the 1940s, and their relatives got in touch.

I wrote about toys, etc, and some brand PRs got in touch and asked if I wanted to review their items.

That behind the scenes element really stresses how important writing is. You use it in all walks of life, and today perhaps moreso than ever. We talk less on the phone, and do more via email and social media. A picture says a 100 words - but you still need words to describe it, share it, contextualise it, etc.

Writing can take you so far. - eg. Cvs, requests. It can get you what you want. - eg. Letters of complaint, praise, etc.

It can also just be a lot of fun. I can’t claim to be the best fiction writer. My crowning moment so far was winning a £10 Amazon voucher in a magazine flash fiction competition. But I love being able to communicate a story, or even just a feeling in writing, so I write a ton of fanfiction. War and Peace is 587,287 words long - and I’m on my way to four War and Peace’s worth now.

Success doesn’t look the same for everybody. It’s not about being the best out of everybody - it’s about being the best you can be. It’s about achieving the things you want to do. Your goals might not be academic, or about getting into university, but whatever they are they will take hard work and dedication.

School is where it starts. You prove that you can listen, understand, and explain it to others. You learn how to get on with other people without giving up your own identity. How to make yourself understood without putting down someone else. Think for yourselves and be confident in your decisions. And with those skills, ultimately, you can do anything.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Friday Five: 1900s Films

Friday Five


Following on from last week's post on movies of the 1890s, this week we have five favourite films from the 1900s...

#5. Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost (1901)

#4. Le Voyage dans la Lune / A Trip To The Moon (1902)

#3. The '?' Motorist (1906)

#2. A Trap for Santa (1909)

#1. Les Résultats du Féminisme / The Results of Feminism (1906)

I love this comedy short directed by Alice Guy-Blaché: it's all comedy stereotypes, for sure, but beneath that it's pretty hard hitting about the place of women in Edwardian society. Alice started out as a secretary at a camera company; when the company changed hands - becoming film pioneers Gaumont et Cie - Alice stayed on as Léon Gaumont's secretary. From there she moved into directing, eventually being directly involved in the production of over 700 films at both Gaumont and later at the company she co-founded, Solax Studios. Unapologetically experimental, Alice tackled all kinds of topics, and had a go at just about every special effect the 1900s had to offer.

For more like this, click the image below:
Friday Five

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Wood Samples x 100

100 Places To Get Free Wood Samples

Here are 100 places offering free wood samples direct to your door. There are a mix of sample types here, including flooring, skirting, veneer, and furniture finishes.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Marianna's First Sports' Day

Marianna had her nursery sports day today! It was originally scheduled for a few weeks back, but had to be postponed because of heavy rain. Although the photos look kind of overcast it was actually scorching hot - I had an umbrella with me that I put up because it felt like I was melting...

I was impressed how willing Marianna was to take part - and her ability to balance a bean bag on her head! :)

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